Wednesday, March 13, 2013

USPTA Pro League Wrapping Things Up at Colonial

Our Lovely Photographer
Note: Photos by Steph, our beautiful photographer imported from Deutschland. Click here for final team standings and rosters

Legends Recap
Bob Green of BRA
March 8 at Legends Country Club was the last regular season engagement of the Fort Myers Ritzman Tennis USPTA Pro League, and, going in, this prognosticator figured that things would pretty much be status quo heading into the playoffs at Colonial on March 22. 
Legendary hospitality
After all, at Legends, BRA the team that had just trounced league-leading Remax 7 - 2.5 to take a 3-point league lead over Remax was taking on my team, Gateway Dental (GD), the, then, fifth place team that had gotten just 2 points the previous match.

Pro League scene at Legends
One would expect Remax, the dominant force in the League this season, to make a run for the title facing sixth-place University Grill, a team that hadn’t posted more than 3 points in any match-up since last November. 
Kim Jones of BRA
But with only 8 total points available, and BRA leading by 3, odds were good that BRA would, at the very least, hold its own against us and claim the regular-season title.  

Erica Coissart & John Gillette
of Babolat
In third place, Babolat, a team that had posted a rare (at least at that time) 8 points in its last outing, looked good to hold onto that position in its matchup against fourth-place Johnny Malloy’s (JM), the team over which Babolat held a 5-point lead. 
Elliot Debolt & Mike Curran of JM
With a 4-point lead on GD for fourth, all JM had to do was stay close to Babolat and have BRA do what it had done six of nine times this season (score 5 or more points), and JM would hang onto fourth…at least that’s the way it looked on paper.

Alex Hermeto & Kerry Kendrick of GD
But that’s why no sporting event is decided on paper. When the fuzz had ceased flying Friday night, and Anthony and I had wrapped up the final match of the evening, GD had outscored BRA 8-2; Remax had outpointed UG 7-0; and Babolat had posted a 6-2 win over JM. Here’s the team-by-team recap:

Remax vs. University Grill
Manuel Encalada of Remax
Court #1- Manuel Encalada & Luke Andreae posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Sergio Rebolledo & Patrick Kangwa
Court #2- Frank Fourgeau & Corey Knapp defeated Mike Lawver & Matt Maloney 6-2, 6-3
Court #3- Jorge Magalhaes & Mike Stevens (sub) beat Terry See & Tony Martin 6-1, 6-1
Christie Bradley & Dave Dooley of Remax
Mixed- Dave Dooley & Christie Bradley took the win over Carolyn Lawver & Rick Calton (sub) 1-4, retired, when Rick injured his knee
Team Totals: Remax 7, UG 0

Boston Retirement Advisors vs. Gateway Dental
Shawn Hedrick & Ryan Sherry of GD
Court #1- Shawn Hedrick & Ryan Sherry downed Jared Kalpin & Eddie Neese 6-3, 6-1
Anthony Hatori of GD
Court #2- Anthony Hatori & T. A. Niles defeated Joel Hampton and Mike Barnes 6-4, 3-6, 10-7
Jeff Timmer & Steve Shortridge of GD
Court #3- Steve Shortridge & Jeff Timmer outlasted Paul D’Amico & Mark Owens (sub) 6-7, 6-3, 10-7 in the Match of the Day
Mixed- Alex Hermeto & Kerry Kendrick downed Bob Green & Kim Jones 6-4, 7-5
Team Totals: GD 8, BRA 1.5

Babolat vs. Johnny Malloy’s
Denny Rager & Tyler Owens of Babolat
Denny must have missed a volley
Court #1- Denny Rager & Tyler Owens remained undefeated at a team, defeating Mike Curran & Elliot Debolt 7-6, 7-5. It was the second consecutive season in which Tyler went undefeated with a partner. I believe Tyler is 19-1 over the past two seasons, with a chance to end up 20-1 after Colonial.
Jeff Diggs & John Jerome of Babolat
Court #2- Jeff Diggs & John Jerome downed Oliver Stenger & Kevin Kearns 6-3, 6-1
Court #3- Larry Gagnon & Todd Wise beat Armor Persons & Tony Halski 6-1, 7-6
Mixed- John Gillette & Erica Cossairt defeated John Ramsey and Christyn Lucas 6-3, 6-4
Team Totals: Babolat 6, JM 2

Colonial Preview
At Colonial on the 22nd, Remax (1st) will have the chance to prove once and for all that it was the best team in the League this season when they tangle with BRA (2nd). The two teams split the regular season match-ups, but Remax barely edged BRA by .5 of a point in the first skirmish, but was trounced by BRA 7 - 2.5 in the second. This one will really be for bragging rights.

Babolat, which finished a solid third, 7 points ahead of fourth-place GD, will seek to solidify that standing when the take on GD in the playoffs. The first meeting of the two saw GD outpoint Babolat 6 – 2.5, but in the most recent match-up of the two, Babolat outscored GD 5 – 3. This promises to be a close one if all players can make the date. Steve Shortridge and I, both for GD, may have to miss the playoffs as the USPTA National Clay Court Championships begin on the 22nd.

JM (5th) and UG (6th) will face each other in the final Pro League event of 2012 – 2013, and it will be the last opportunity for UG to outpoint a team this season. The best UG has managed this season is a tie versus Babolat back in November. JM outpointed UG 5-2, and 6-2 respectively the two times they played this season, but perhaps some creative lineup shuffling might allow UG to finish with a bang, or a smash, or a dropshot, or anything that would give them a “W!”

Faithful Pro League Fans
I am sure all players will be scrapping for a win at Colonial. Nobody wants to end the season with a loss…and have to wait seven months to get back in the winners’ circle. To the faithful Pro League fans who have supported us throughout the season, we offer you a HUGE THANK YOU, and we hope to see you one more time before the 2013 – 2014 Season begins in October.

We will thank them again after the season, but I might as well get started now in expressing our gratitude to the Title Sponsor, Tony Ritzman of Ritzman Tennis, the Team Sponsors: multiple-year sponsors, Luke Andreae's Remax/Andreae Group, Boston Retirement Advisors (Paul Pignone), University Grill, and
Johnny Malloy’s; and first-year sponsors  Gateway Dental, and Babolat. A note of thanks must also be sent to the general managers, tennis directors and staffs of all the venues that so graciously hosted the League and its fans.

Scott Harrington, Jim Katterfield,
Paul Pignone, & Kenny Gibson of Palmira
Last, but certainly not least, we are grateful for the effort of League Commissioner Jim Katterfield, and all that he does to make the Pro League happen. We have a good thing going Fort Myers! Let’s keep it rocking. Game, set, match…T. A.

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